Why Don’t We Care About the Slaughter of Nigerian Christians?

In this picture taken on March 1, 2015 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP'S) queue to collect foodstuffs during a distribution event run by the American University of Nigeria through the Adamawa Peace Initiative at the Upper Room Cathedral to the Holy Spirit in Yola, Nigeria. Hundreds of thousands of IDPs have come to Yola to flee Boko Haram.

By Michael Brown Published on February 20, 2018

Thousands of Christians are being butchered in Nigeria and whole villages being destroyed. Why are we so unconcerned? Why don’t we care? I believe the biggest reason is that we simply don’t know about what’s happening there. Well, now you know. Here are the facts.

For the last several months, a good friend and Christian missionary serving the poorest of the poor in Nigeria has been sending me emails with terrifying news. Fulani tribesmen raping and killing villagers. Children being used as Islamic suicide bombers, resulting in scores of casualties. One horrible report after another.

Yet with each email I received, as I scoured the major news agencies in the West, I found nothing reported. Not a word.

At the same time, Nigerian news sources were ablaze with reports of the latest atrocities.

“Only Jesus”

Today, I saw this shocking headline on Jihad Watch: “Nigeria: Muslims wipe out 15 villages in mass slaughter of Christians, government does nothing.”

The article began with this quote:

Despite several calls to the governor and his deputy, and other security apparatus, the government remained silent as the atrocities continued. The Fulani were able to carry out their deadly attack. They stayed for hours in the vicinity, moving at will, unchallenged.

How could this be? According to Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch, it’s because “Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari clearly has no sympathy for the victims. He shares the world view of the jihadi attackers.”

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream »

When I emailed my friend in Nigeria to ask if this was true, she wrote back immediately:

This article doesn’t state which villages, so I am not sure. It is happening every day. The worst this year was the New Year’s Day massacre, followed by a mass burial of 73 victims. There have been many attacks since then. Villages razed, girls and women raped, men butchered. Cutlasses have been replaced by AK-47’s. The military has, at times, seemed complicit.

The president only gets upset when there are reprisal killings of Fulani. He himself is a Fulani man and a cattle-rearer. The stated reason is grazing rights. If you object to cows eating your crops, you, your village and maybe surrounding ones will be attacked. It is in every paper, every day. The nation is smoldering. Only Jesus.

Her closing sentence meant, “Jesus is our nation’s only hope.”

“Enough is Enough!”

She also sent me this YouTube link, viewed over 180,000 times at present. In it, a Nigerian social commentator who lives in the States blasts the Nigerian president’s alleged inaction (and, worse still, alleged wrong actions).

The video begins with a clip from a pastor, boldly denouncing wickedness in the government and stating plainly that, “The killing, the killing that is going on in Nigeria shows the irresponsibility of the president called Buhari.”

Why don’t we care? Why aren’t we raising our voices? Why aren’t we standing with our fellow-believers in prayer? I believe it is largely because of our ignorance.

And the pastor urged every Nigerian to fight back, not with weapons but by getting their voter’s cards, urging the people not to let wicked men in government to decide their fate. Yes, he bellowed, “Enough is enough!”

As a result of his sermon, we are informed that a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Spread the Word

Outrageous? Absolutely. But Nigeria is a nation divided. There is a Muslim majority in the north and a Christian majority in the south. Terrorist groups like Boko Haram are still on the prowl, and there is systemic governmental corruption.

And as Christianity continues to spread across the nation at an exponential pace, so also persecution is spreading. As reported by Christian Today in 2016,

Muslims are converting to Christianity in northern Nigeria amid rapidly rising levels of Christian persecution, which has seen more than ten thousand Christians killed in five years, according to a new report released today.

While much media attention has been focused on Islamic State and the plight of persecuted minorities in the Middle East, 11,500 Christians in northern Nigeria were killed in five years between 2006-2014, and 13,000 churches were destroyed, forcing 1.3 million Christians to flee to safer areas of the country.

As devastating as these statistics are, they are more likely under-reported than over-reported. Again, we must ask, Why don’t we care? Why aren’t we raising our voices? Why aren’t we standing with our fellow-believers in prayer?

I believe it is largely because of our ignorance.

But if you’ve read this article, you can’t claim ignorance any more. And the first thing you can do to help combat these atrocities is share this article with your friends. Let’s get educated, let’s get praying, and let’s get the word out to the rest of the world until the Nigerian government does what is right — or is replaced by leaders who will.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • curri

    We didn’t care about the slaughter of the Iraqi or Syrian Christians either.

    • Skay

      We certainly did not under Obama. Very few brought in under his administration compared to Muslims.

  • mollysdad

    Reprisal killings of Fulani are rough justice. But they have only themselves to blame for their sins of blasphemy and idolatry as well as murder in the name of their false prophet.

  • Albion

    Have you noticed how the Western media makes a big fuss about the plight of Muslim Palestinians under Israeli rule, or the Muslim Rohinga tribe expelled from Myanmar (Burma) while ignoring the plight of Christians or any other religious group persecuted by Muslims? The question is WHY.

  • Concerned Christian

    Trump’s comments about these nations certainly didn’t help. He didn’t distinguish between the good and the bad. So it’s a little difficult for people to show any level of sympathy.

    • Bojaws Dubois

      FYI: Some people didn’t care about Nigerian Christians long before Trump’s comments

      • Concerned Christian

        are immigrants in general viewed more favorably or negatively in the age of trump?

        there are a lot of issues that existed before trump, but this is one that he has clearly made worse. Not via policy as much as by rhetoric. From the way he talks is a Christian Nigerian any better than a non-Christian Nigerian?

      • Skay

        Exactly. Islam is the problem.

    • MMLF 7619

      I agree. Trump’s comments were thoughtless and steeped in racial stereotypes, whether he realizes this or not. This flies in the face of a previous (and commendable) commitment to helping Christian refugees.

  • Tolu

    I wonder why the continue slaughtering of Christians in Nigeria doesn’t call for a UN emergency security meeting and hold Nigerian government responsible.

    • Dave

      UN: unilateral knuckleheads, overshadowed by islamic governments and extremism which is expanding in Africa.

    • MMLF 7619

      Given that the UN is in bed with the worst human rights abusers on the planet (Saudi Arabia, for example), this comes as no surprise. They’re too busy attacking Israel.

  • Howard

    Oh, I think it’s more than simple ignorance. A good deal of it is despair. We may know that these atrocities are taking place, but whether they say it or not, many people regard pretty much the whole of Africa as a lost cause.
    * Africa is HUGE. Nigeria alone has 10% the area of the United States. Combine that with the fact that most of the continent is in one form of misery or another. The Pope recently called for prayer and fasting for peace, particularly in South Sudan and the Congo. Egypt is a disaster waiting to happen, with the military having just a few years ago deposed a popularly elected Islamist. Robert Mugabe has finally been pushed aside in Zimbabwe, and (less dramatically) Zuma has just been forced out of office in South Africa. I’m not sure if Libya is officially still in a state of civil war, but it’s certainly not stable. Etc., etc. Even a superpower lacks the resources to put an egg as big as Africa back together again.
    * Our past history of picking “good guys” to back is not encouraging. For example, by aiding the Afghani mujahideen, we helped create the Taliban.
    * As with Afghanistan and Iraq, it might be easy enough to defeat one group of baddies, but what will happen after that — especially when we leave? “And when an unclean spirit is gone out of a man he walketh through dry places seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith: I will return into my house from whence I came out. And coming he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then he goeth, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man in made worse than the first.”

    And yes, I do think racism has something to do with it, reluctant as I am to bring that up. But it’s more complicated than racism. Obama, who famously speculated that if he had had a son, the son might have looked like Trayvon Martin, actually does have two daughters who presumably look like the 276 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram in 2014, yet he scarcely reacted to the abductions at all.

    • MMLF 7619

      Yes, racism does have something to do with it, but you make very considered points in addition to that. (Your knowledge of Africa is quite good!)

  • MMLF 7619

    Thank you for this thoughtful article, Dr Brown. As the daughter of Nigerian immigrants to Britain, this news is painful and infuriating. There are several reasons for the silence:

    1- Ignorance: Africa is a vast continent and is still, despite centuries of colonial conquest, a mystery to many in the West.
    2- Racism: There are those who simply don’t care about tragedies faced by black Africans based on race.
    3- Political Correctness: Acknowledging the persecution faced by Christians would mean acknowledging that the culprits are Muslims and thus confronting the poor treatment of Christians in Muslim-majority countries.
    4- Political Support: For diplomatic reasons, international leaders may turn a blind eye to these atrocities in order to avoid offending a political leader whose support they need or want.
    5- Despair: Given that problems in African countries are well-publicised, frequent, and have such catastrophic consequences, many people simply tune out.

    I am sure there are other reasons. But that has to change. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The persecution of Nigerian Christians is the persecution of all Christians and of the Christian religion itself. Anyone previously choosing to ignore this horrific persecution should change their ways. Again, thank you for this article, Dr Brown.

Liberty McArtor
More from The Stream
Connect with Us